After making one of the best films of 2011 in Drive, writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn is reuniting with rising star/man-of-the-year Ryan Gosling for Only God Forgives, quite possibly one of the most promising films currently in production.

Kristin Scott Thomas is also part of the cast, playing Gosling’s mother / matriarchal leader of organised crime. So essentially, this is going to be immense.

The first image of Gosling has now surfaced, via Wild Bunch and Collider, in which we get to see the actor looking his usual ridiculously cool self.

“Bangkok. Ten years ago Julian killed a cop and went on the run. Now he manages a Thai boxing club as a front for a drugs operation. Respected in the criminal underworld, deep inside, he feels empty.

When Julian’s brother murders a prostitute the police call on retired cop Chang – the Angel of Vengeance. Chang allows the father to kill his daughter’s murderer, then ‘restores order’ by chopping off the man’s right hand.

Julian’s mother Jenna – the head of a powerful criminal organization – arrives in Bangkok to collect her son’s body. She dispatches Julian to find his killers and ‘raise hell’.

Increasingly obsessed with the Angel of Vengeance, Julian challenges him to a boxing match, hoping that by defeating him he might find spiritual release… but Chang triumphs. A furious Jenna plots revenge and the stage is set for a bloody journey through betrayal and vengeance towards a final confrontation and the possibility of redemption.”

News also comes via Deadline that Radius, the newly-formed distribution company under The Weinstein Company, are in talks to acquire the US distribution rights for the film, which would be a brilliant film for the company to start making a name for itself with, having also recently acquired the remake of the director’s Pusher.

The film was to go to FilmDistrict, who put out Drive, but apparently the distributors couldn’t see eye-to-eye with the filmmakers, with Winding Refn’s upcoming film described as having a lot more explosive violence than Drive – and if you’ve seen Drive, you’ll know that that sounds good. As such, the hard-R drama was up for acquisition, giving Radius the chance to take it instead.

Production is currently underway in Thailand, and you really can’t help but imagine this is going to be anything but awesome. Drive was an incredible film that earned Winding Refn the Best Director award at Cannes last year, and has almost certainly been one of the most talked-about films in the past six months.

No word yet on when Only God Forgives is set to come out, but hopefully we won’t have to wait long. With Cannes coming in May, followed by Venice and Toronto at the end of the summer, it could well be that Winding Refn and Gosling will debut their film once more at one of these, and with a bit of luck, we’ll have it in cinemas by the end of the year.